OUTDOORS & RECREATION

A Cache Valley town and landowner clash over access to trails

Jun 4, 2024, 7:53 PM | Updated: 8:08 pm

CLARKSTON, Cache County — People in a Cache Valley community are worried about one landowner’s plans, as they see access cut off to several popular trails.

According to Clarkston Mayor Craig Hidalgo, new dirt roads started to appear without any warning or permit requests near the trailheads above the Cache County town.

“There’s been new roads plowed all up through here,” Hidalgo said. “I was shocked to see what they were able to do without a permit. And the damage they were able to cause.”

He worries that the new roads could impact the water supply for Clarkston, Newton, and Trenton, that all get their water from springs in the nearby mountains.

“How could he just start digging like this without any type of study to say what they’re going to do to the watersheds and everything that’s going on around here?” Hidalgo said.

According to a complaint filed in Utah’s First District Court, tensions between the land owner, Scott Shriber and Cache County officials came to a head when a county deputy and a bulldozer arrived at the property on May 13 to cut a more permanent trail over the old one.

Mayor Hidalgo explaining why the new unplanned trails can create water problems.

In June of 2024, Clarkston Mayor Craig Hidalgo explained why the new unplanned trails could create water problems. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

An attorney for Shriber told KSL TV that Shriber initially didn’t have a permit for the roads they cut, but they do now. The attorney said  Shriber plans to keep the 900 acres as private hunting grounds.

The attorney said they plan to follow proper watershed protections, but Clarkston city engineer Scott Archibald worries about damage that may have already been done.

“How could he just start digging like this without any type of study to say what they’re going to do to the watersheds and everything that’s going on around here,” Archibald said. “This is extremely critical of what he’s doing. It can damage the watershed completely.”

A view of the new road being created by the landowner.

A view of the new road being created by the landowner. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Shriber’s attorney said he would allow hikers to access them through the trail but is restricting off-road vehicles. The attorney said Shriber would also like people to ask permission before they enter his property.

However, that might be only a temporary situation according to Taylor Clark, who is a part of ae trails committee. He is hoping to keep the trails open for the public, and his committee even created a map for people to use.

“Basically, we’re able to develop a map based on the Federal fair usage of the citizens over many, many decades. And we’re able to state that these are open public access is for the citizens,” Clark said.

Shriber’s attorney said they ultimately want to work with the county over which trails should remain open. They say there are a lot of random trails that don’t go anywhere.

The attorney said that would at least allow people to access trails to reach public lands on the other side of this land.

A view of the new road being created by the landowner.

A no-trespassing sign and a gate at the access site of the trails in Cache County in June, 2024. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

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A Cache Valley town and landowner clash over access to trails